I have too many blessings to be ungrateful.

Begin today! No matter how feeble the light, let it shine as best it may. The world may need just that quality of light which you have. – Henry C. Blinn

I am grateful for a new year that is full of potential, full of new adventures, full of days that are yet unwritten.

I am grateful for the past week that overflowed with activity and people we do not always get to see, a week where small but happy memories were made.

I am grateful for the blessing and “it’s finally happening” of my Dad’s retirement this past week. I am grateful that he will be able to work when he wants to, do what he wants to, and enjoy life as he wants to in the coming years, without feeling the pressure to go to work every day.

I am grateful for the friends and family members who stopped by the store to wish my Dad well on Friday.

I am grateful for the biggest surprise I think I have had in a very long time – a surprise visit from my daughter and her family. They walked into Dad’s apartment on Thursday evening and none of us had a clue. I am grateful for a daughter with a sentimental heart, a daughter who wanted to bless her extended family with her own family’s presence for two special occasions. And bless, she did.

I am grateful for a granddaughter who drew the prettiest butterfly at the kitchen table.

I am grateful for this granddaughter who wanted to sit by me, who wanted me to color with her while we waited on our food at the restaurant, who gave me the sweetest hug when we said goodbye.

I am grateful for the time in the backseat of the van to play Candy Crush with my only grandson.

I am grateful for a grandson who loves to sing.

I am grateful for grandchildren who compete for my attention…I think.

I am grateful for a little granddaughter who loves purses and bracelets and high heels and baby dolls.

I am grateful for the smallest granddaughter who giggles and holds her own quite well. She’s gonna have to hold her own with her three older siblings. Bulldoze or be bulldozed.

I am grateful for a husband who knew I wanted to put a puzzle together and sat at the table with me, putting the border together.

I am grateful for a husband who prays out loud.

I am grateful for a new devotional for this year. Thank you, Dad.

I am grateful for dainty flowers and a brother who appreciates them.

I am grateful for Michelle.

I am grateful for our small group – they’ve added so much to our lives already.

I am grateful for my daughter who loves to take pictures.

I am grateful for my cousin Valerie who values the importance of keeping the family together via reunions, even if the weather sounds threatening.

I am grateful for my church, and for the feeling of Mom’s presence in the service yesterday as we sang “How Firm A Foundation” and “I Know Whom I Have Believed.” I could hear her alto/tenor in every stanza.

I am grateful for the message yesterday, about the frequently spoken line, “Everything happens for a reason.”  One of my favorite parts of Adam’s message was this:

Suffering is not God’s desire for us, but it occurs in the process of life. Suffering is not given to teach us something, but through it we may learn. Suffering is not given to punish us, but sometimes it is the consequence of our sin or poor judgment. Suffering does not occur because our faith is weak, but through it our faith may be strengthened. God does not depend on human suffering to achieve his purposes, but sometimes through suffering His purposes are achieved. Suffering can either destroy us, or it can add meaning to our life. – Reverend Ray Firestone

And finally, today I am grateful to have sat in the middle of the backseat on Friday afternoon, grandchildren on each side, and watch my daughter and son-in-law hold hands up front as we traveled to Wichita.

I am blessed.

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